Monday, January 28, 2019

Stylophone GEN R-8 at the NAMM Show - Sunday

Just to be a completist, here's one last blog post about my trip to Anaheim to help the folks from Dubreq promote their new Stylophone GEN R-8 analog synthesizer.

Sunday was the final day of the convention. I felt like I was moving in slow-motion all day. I was sore and exhausted from days of standing for hours, walking long distances, relentless noise, and lack of sleep. The crowds had thinned significantly, so I took the day off from the Dubreq booth. I made one last stop at the nearby booth of the Bob Moog Foundation to say goodbye to my friends there, and to check out their vintage modular synth one last time.

Then I continued my search for affordable studio microphones that I could tell my voice acting students about in my upcoming workshop at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. With the increased interest in podcasting and DIY music recording, the manufacturers have responded with lots of great gear.

I spent my last half hour or so back at the Dubreq booth with Marcella and John. It was a pleasure to work with them and to witness both their enthusiasm for Stylophone products and their appreciation for Stylophone enthusiasts. I am so glad I had this opportunity to help spread the word about Dubreq and their entire Stylophone product line.

After final goodbyes with Marcella and John, I called the cab driver who had given me a ride Saturday night. He picked me up outside the convention center and we talked about music and audio recording almost all the way to the airport.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Stylophone GEN R-8 at the NAMM Show - Saturday

There's not much to report in today's blog entry about the new Stylophone GEN R-8 portable analog synthesizer. At a trade show, one day can seem just like another from inside a booth.

We had lots of delighted visitors try out the instruments. Some folks were a bit shy and I had to coax them into putting on the headphones and playing the touch-sensitive keyboard. For many, it was the 16-step sequencer that really caught their attention and made their faces light up.

I was only in the booth for a few hours. I had heard that Kid Koala was planning to stop by. If he did, it was when I was away. I did, however, get to visit briefly with Michael Boddicker and Roger Linn.

I spent much of the rest of the day doing research for the audio production workshop I will be teaching next week in Denver.

In the afternoon I attended a panel discussion about classic analog synthesizers hosted by my friends at the Bob Moog Foundation (an educational non-profit not associated with the musical instrument company.) One of the panelists was Geoff Downes, a keyboard player who has been in three of my favorite bands. I got to ask him a question in the seminar about his keytars. I have followed Geoff's career and music since I was a teenager and have seen him in-concert with either Yes or ASIA around a dozen times, so I take any opportunity to visit with him.  After the session, I spoke with him briefly and got a photo, but my smart phone camera is really bad and so was the lighting.

It turned out to be a rather fun and productive day, although I am getting convention-weary. I am very glad to be here helping Dubreq, but I will also be glad to go home soon.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Stylophone GEN R-8 at the NAMM Show - Friday

I have been sharing my experiences at the 2019 winter NAMM Show in Anaheim, California this week. In case you don't know, this is a huge convention for the music industry. The trade show features more than 2,000 vendors from all over the world, showing their latest instruments, recording gear, stage lighting and more. The attendees -- besides the manufacturers -- are music store owners, musicians, music teachers, and recording studio folks. I am spending part of my time here in Dubreq's trade show booth, helping spread the word about the new Stylophone GEN R-8 analog synthesizer and other Stylophone products.

My Friday began with breakfast at my hotel. At first, I sat with a couple of vendors from Slovenia.  I think they said they work for D'Addario, the guitar string company. There was a bit of a language gap, so I am not certain. After they left, I ended up spending the rest of my breakfast in conversation with an executive from one of my very most favorite synthesizer companies (other than Dubreq, of course.)

Then while waiting for a shuttle bus ride to the convention center, I had a great conversation with Nashville-based drummer Vincent Dee. We talked about his long career as a country music drummer and my short career as a TV producer at TNN, The Nashville Network. We also had a good laugh about Nashville's world famous "nun bun," a cinammon pastry that looked like Mother Teresa.

After arriving at the convention center, I visited several of the other booths. In my travels, I happened to meet Bobby Kimball, the original lead singer of Toto. Nice guy!

Finally, I made it over to the Dubreq booth to find that company owners Marcella Kavanagh and John Simpson had turned the table on me... literally. They rotated the display table 90 degrees so more people could play our various Stylophone instruments at the same time. We had a rather steady stream of people stop by to check out our gear. Among them were several friends of mine that I had met at various synthesizer trade shows, including Mike Learmouth, the co-founder of the upcoming Synthplex festival in Burbank, CA. I also got to demo the Stylophone GEN R-8 for the publishers of the Synthtopia blog. We had some record producers and music store executives visit with us today. One visitor told me about a trippy song called "Living Room" by David Holmes that features a Stylophone S1 played through a wah pedal. I think the highlight of my time at the Dubreq booth today was hearing a guy who tried out the GEN R-8 say "this is the best thing I've seen" at the convention.

I wrapped up my day at NAMM by shaking a tambourine for awhile in the 20th annual NAMM drum circle, and enjoying a fun outdoor concert featuring Sarah McLachlan and James "J.T." Taylor from Kool & The Gang.

Now, back in my hotel room, I can hear fireworks exploding in the sky above Disneyland. It's a fitting ending to a fantastic day!